The Daily Bread Mailbag returns with Stephen "Breadman" Edwards tackling topics such as Errol Spence vs. Terence Crawford, Carlos Ortiz vs. Aaron Pryor, the legend of Jack Johnson, closed door events and more.
I like your newsletter every Saturday, but from time-to-time, you say some pretty off-the-wall stuff. No offense. Today, you said you like Carlos Ortiz to "clip" Aaron Pryor in a shootout.
"Pryor vs Ortiz- Hmm…I think Ortiz would clip Pryor in a shootout"
Was it very late at night when you wrote that? Think about what you said. I don't have to tell you what's wrong with it because you're an intelligent guy and already know.
One other thing...Arguello hit Pryor with his best stuff in the middle rounds, not late in the fight. If the suspicious black bottle came out after Round 11 or 12, how did it help Aaron withstand some of the hellacious right hands Arguello hit him with in Rounds 6 through 9? While I agree the Miami Commission dropped the ball that night, to say that the black bottle was the main reason Pryor won that fight is intellectually dishonest.
Be safe and be well.
Carl in New York
P.S. This is not necessarily for the newsletter. I was just hoping you could shed light on why you said you think Ortiz would clip Pryor in a shootout, the same Ortiz who could lost to Ismael Laguna at 135.
Bread’s Response: I don’t have a newsletter. It’s called a mailbag that you happen to read. Sometimes when people act like they aren’t trying to insult you, they take little sly shots. It’s like when you borrow $20 from someone and ask for it back and they say, “here take your little $20 back.”
Whatever you claim I say off the wall is my opinion and it’s always well thought out. Carlos Ortiz was one of the best 3 or 4 fighters of the 60s decade. Muhammad Ali, Eder Jofre and guess who…. He’s also one of the best 3 or 4 Puerto Rican fighters ever. Wilfred Benitez, Wilfredo Gomez, Felix Trinidad and guess who? And you can put the latter in whatever order you want and not be wrong.
Ortiz is also one of the best 10 lightweights ever. Ortiz has 7 losses in almost 70 fights which is normal for the times. But he avenged 5 of his 7 losses. So what he lost to Ismael Laguna. Laguna could fight and he beat him. It happens. Ortiz got him back but you failed to mention that.
Ortiz is one of those well rounded, iron chinned, hard nose technical fighters with really good balance. He wouldn’t be bullied by Pryor. He was strong enough to hold his ground. He won his first title at 140 and dropped down to 135. The exact opposite of Pryor’s career. So Pryor wouldn’t have had a strength and natural size advantage that he had over Arguello.
Your problem is either one of two things. You don’t know Ortiz well enough. I assume that because you picked out Laguna like that’s so awful. Or you’re in love with Pryor which is also ok because Pryor is my guy too. But a fight is a fight.
As for the black bottle. When you cheat then everything else is open for speculation. How do you know that he wasn’t given whatever was in the bottle in the dressing room? From some reports it was crushed asthma pills….So how do you know they weren’t in his system before the 11th round?
And I never suggested that Pryor took the punches because of the black bottle. But let’s be clear. You don’t mix, water with water. So if the black bottle gave Pryor energy, which is oxygen then everything is interconnected. When fighters gets kod it’s because of oxygen deprivation to the brain. So the more oxygen you have flowing not only does it help with your stamina but it will help with your punch resistance. I believe Pryor is a great fighter, with or without the bottle. And with or without Panama Lewis. But the fact remains is the black bottle was used. And Panama Lewis is a known cheater and has been banned from boxing for life because of his role in the Luis Resto vs Billy Collins padded glove ordeal. This is not something I made up. And Resto vs Collins happened very close in time to Pryor vs Arguello.
Whenever someone’s favorite fighter gets caught cheating, they get offended and start moving the goal post as far as when the cheating started.
Ortiz vs Pryor is a great fight that could go either way. But I picked Ortiz to clip him. Pryor attacked with his head up in the air and his balance was poor for a great fighter. Ortiz kept his feet up under him and he threw short compact punches. See his brutal kos of Flash Elorde. Do some research before you insult me, I have this newsletter for a reason.
As always, enjoy your column. Thanks for sharing your insight week to week. You mentioned current fighters with mean streaks and it got me to thinking about Jack Johnson. Jack Johnson fought an in era he had no business fighting in. By that I mean, he was a black man in the late 1800s, early 1900s. Traveling the world and challenging the day’s white champions. How bad as$ was he? Driving around in fancy cars and DATING white women. Not just driving and dating, but FLAUNTING IT. He fought in front of hundreds of angry white men, who wanted to see him lose and probably die in the process. He had retired heavyweight champions coming out of retirement to fight him. Anyway, I doubt he had any love for the white men he fought and he took on everyone. Punishing lots of those fighters, with brutal punches, and at times, preventing them from being knocked down to dole out more punishment. Knocking out Stanley Ketchel and having to pull his teeth out of his glove. I can’t imagine any of his opponents or crowd were saying nice things to him. You got to have nerves of steel and a mean streak. Crazy.
Also, I know I’ve probably missed your All Time P4P, but does Joe Choynski make that list? He was a middleweight who knocked out heavyweights including Jack Johnson, who outweighed him by 40 pounds at times.
Thanks again for your knowledge, Breadman.
Alonzo from Connecticut
Bread’s Response: I didn’t think of Johnson when I was asked the question but yes Gawd, he was a mean, ornery, Sun of Gun. Johnson has the type of mean that makes you think in another life he was a serial killer. I can’t believe he wasn’t murdered. Johnson’s birthday is March 31st. I’m a weird dude I remember birthdays. My grandmother’s birthday was March 31st. And she was mean and ornery just like Johnson. She told me she once carried a butcher knife to school because she had just moved to Philadelphia from Memphis, Tenesse and the girls up here teased her because of her light complexion and southern accent. She was a big Jack Johnson fan and believe it or not my Great Grand Father Williams Woods looked a lot like Johnson. If I’m not mistaken he was born in Arkansas, I wouldn’t be surprised if they were KIN.
Johnson was one bad dude. I watched his documentary Unforgivable Blackness. And Johnson was one strong, balanced fighter. He had great reflexes and was a natural athlete. He would have prospered in any time because of his god given gifts would have translated in any era. He would have just picked up the tactics and training methods of each era.
Breadman, hope you are well and staying safe.
I know you’re a Philly native, and also have such high regard for Tito.
My question is - how did you predict the fight going in? And would the outcome have been different had the fight happened on Sept 15th, 2001 as originally scheduled?
Thanks, love your mailbag and how you are able to see things so objectively.
Bread’s Response: I was up in the air about Hopkins vs Tito. At the time one of my co workers thought Tito would just kill Hopkins. I remember arguing with him telling him it was a hard fight and just because Hopkins wasn’t as dynamic it didn’t mean he couldn’t win. I thought the odds were off but I wasn’t confident enough to lay any CHEESE down on Hopkins. The Joppy KO scared me. I bet big on Hopkins vs Pavlik because I was mad at myself for not taking the odds vs Tito years before.
I actually bought tickets to Hopkins vs Trinidad. You’re 100% correct it was originally scheduled for September 15th. I was in the process of buying a house and my closing date was September 28th. The person I was going with backed out on me and I wasted my money because New York was not letting one passenger vehicles in NY at the time and I couldn’t go alone.
I’ve had this talk with fellow trainers about the weight. I always felt that the postponement favored Hopkins. Even though he was the natural middleweight, I think Tito ballooned up to higher weights in between fights. So Hopkins was used to holding a weight closer to 160lbs, where as Tito was a guy who CUT weight. Fighters who CUT weight do it on a schedule. Fighters who maintain a weight don’t have to schedule a weight cut, they just make weight. That’s a great pick up on your part.
I’m not suggesting Tito would have won if it wasn’t for the postponement but I do think Hopkins’s Spartan like discipline prevailed and he had an advantage.
Thanks for the weekly column. I always learn something new and have a fight to watch after reading the mailbag.
I'm going to go out on a limb and say Spence-Crawford isn't going to happen. Spence has at least two lucrative fights in front of him after a presumed tune-up, and I just don't see how the fight gets big enough to pay two networks. The amount of weight he cuts between fights and the PBC roster at 154 also give me pause as to how much time he has left at 147.
If this fight doesn't happen, where does it rank on a list of fights that never came together? What's your top-5 list of fights that never happened?
Bread’s Response: You have a point. I can see Crawford vs Spence not happening either. Who knows how long this pandemic will affect the sports world. And it wouldn’t make financial sense for the PBC for Spence to fight Crawford before he fights Danny Garcia, Manny Pacquiao or Keith Thurman. Weight is also a huge factor. Spence is 30 now. And weight cuts get harder and harder each cut. At some point a fighter says to himself that the horrible feeling of cutting the weight is not worth it and they move up. Especially if they struggle or lose.
The other factors are the emergence of Vergil Ortiz and Jaron Ennis. Someone is going to have to answer to those kids pretty soon. Eventually they will become #1 contenders and a notable champion will have to fight them. Attrition is the baseline of boxing. Age, weight, talent and time is how we move from era to ear and champion to champion. Those two young guys are much younger and fresher than Spence and Crawford and their times are coming.
Top 5 fights that never happened: I’m only going to go my lifetime because if you didn’t live through it, you can research it but you can’t feel the energy and zest for the fight.
In no order:
Mayweather vs Pacquiao in 2010. I started doing my mailbag around 2009 and I would literally get 50 questions a day about a fight that didn’t happen until 6 years later.
Bowe vs Lewis, Two undefeated champions who fought in the Gold Medal match in the Olympics. It’s a really a shame they never fought.
Ray Leonard vs Aaron Pryor. Pryor almost got his wish but Leonard had the detached retina and that was that.
Mikey Garcia vs Vasyl Lomachenko. They should have fought. Same age, same era. Same weight. That fight had historical significance. Legacy defining.
Felix Trinidad vs Ike Quartey. They were both undefeated champions in their prime at the same weight for years and it never happened.
Ive red multiple times you prefer short questions, so here goes.
Regarding fighting without an audience present. I was wondering how you feel about it. I saw UFC 249 and it changed how i feel about it. It was an absolute no go for me before, but i now see the beauty in it. The fight becomes more pure and raw to watch. I loved that i could hear the strikes connect, i loved i could hear the coaches. Also, and ive done this a couple of times, i feel scoring becomes easier/more fair. Ive seen boxing matches where i was totally fine with the outcome, then watched it back later on youtube without sound and had to change my opinion to a draw or even score it for the other fighter.
So again, wondering how you feel about it.
With kind regards,
Bread’s Response: I try not to feel anyway about things I can’t control. It’s a coping mechanism I use. I earn a living in boxing. So I’m not going to boycott one of my guys fighting because a crowd won’t be there. The rules won’t change. Two gloves, a square ring. Twelve, 3 minute rounds….
Here is the thing. Fighters today fight on the average about 40 times in their careers. Some of them spar 40 times in a camp with no crowd. Fighting in front of a huge crowd is actually harder to cope with because you do it less often.
As a whole, fighters fight better in the gym than they do in real fights because of the nerves, crowd noise etc. I actually think it duplicates sparring more and they will be able to hear their coaches better if they fight with no one in the arena. The glass is always half full to me.
Here’s my question, Breadman. It’s a three-parter.
1a) What are some ways to separate a fighter’s chin from their stamina? I know many fans who use the two terms interchangeably, but I do believe there is a difference.
1b) If there is a difference, who are some fighters with great chins but poor stamina? Yeah they can take a punch, but they don’t have a great gas tank...
1c) In turn, who are some fighters with great stamina but weak chins? If they don’t get clipped, they can keep going and going and going…
Bread’s Response: Man you ask a lot of questions but for the most part they are well thought out and good. This is a good one.
1a) Stamina and chin are different. Just classify them as separate things. They can have an effect on each other but they aren’t the same thing. One is how long you can go at a productive pace. The other is what type of punch you can take.
1b) There is definitely a difference. I think Mike Tyson could take a good punch. For one shot Tyson could take a bomb. Frank Bruno really cracked him and so did Razor Ruddock. What Tyson didn’t do well was take punishment while being fatigued. It’s a big difference. You hit Tyson on the chin he was fine. You hit him on the chin after he’s fatigued and discouraged you get results.
1c) I Thought Terry Norris had one of the best gas tanks of the 90s. He had a great set of legs. He had high punch output. And if you watch him fight he wasn’t lazy but if you hit him on the chin he had some troubles. It’s just how it was for Norris.
Long time reader from the Boxingtalk days. I love the way you break down the questions and provide in depth analysis.
Do you think the three recent and most prominent African-American fighters from California (Shane Mosley, Andre Ward, and Tim Bradley) have an "Urban style" or are they a blend of both "Urban" and "Mexican style"? All three probably sparred and boxed primarily Mexican/Mexican American fighters during their amateur careers. Also Tim was coached by Joel Diaz. To my untrained eye, it seems like many boxers no longer fit 100% into one category, European, Asian, Latino, and African American fighters are blending different styles (i.e. globalization of boxing). I would like to hear your thoughts.
Bread’s Response: I think lots of black fighters are just born with a rhythm that is hard to replicate. Fighting is rhythm.
Ward, Mosley and Bradley can all box but I don’t think it’s a coincidence that they all can really fight and get scrappy when they have to. They have hybrid styles. They can be just as much fighter as they are boxer. I do believe it was an environmental thing in California. And it worked for them in their careers.
I think we are in an era with hybrid styles. The Eastern European guys are actually training here in America to become more well rounded. The UK fighters are getting better. And no one will say it openly but the Mexican trainers look to see if their young prospects are good enough to compete against black fighters. That’s a serious barometer for them. One of my closest friends in boxing is Cutman Mike Rodriguez. He happens to be Mexican and we talk about this all the time.
It’s no coincidence what I’m about to say. But let’s go to Chavez. Who gave Chavez his 1st loss. A black fighter in Frankie Randall. Many thought Pernell Whitaker beat him and Meldrick Taylor gave him hell. Many won’t remember this but Rocky Lockridge also took him to the brink. All black fighters.
Marco Antonio Barrera was the next Chavez. He was the guy and one of my favorites. Guess who gave him his 1st two losses. Junior Jones a black fighter. Barrera was a better fighter than Jones but Jones had a tough style for him.
Erik Morales had a better career than Zahir Raheem. He was a better fighter. But Raheem gave him work when they fought. It was literally dismissed as a style thing. Or a Mexican vs Black thing.
Juan Manuel Marquez. No one remembers but in hit first title shot on HBO, Marquez actually lost to a black fighter named Freddy Norwood. They called him lil Hagler.
Canelo for as great as he is. And he’s not only a HOF but approaching ATG status. He had fits with Austin Trout, Floyd Mayweather and Erislandy Lara. Lara is black by the way. Cuban is his nationality not his race. The thing that makes Canelo so special is that he actually has incorporated urban rhythm in his game. It was brilliant of Canelo to do that. Smart fighters should always use things that gave them trouble in the past, so they trouble their future opponents with them.
Guillermo Rigondeaux was never given a big fight vs a Mexican Fighter and he fights in the lower weight classes….
Now we are getting to the point where this is recognized but not spoken on and just like anything in life athletes adapt. The elite Mexican fighters can box better and are more athletic and have more handspeed. These things are being focused on more to compete and it’s very smart.
Canelo Alvarez is leading the way with a slick, urban rhythm, stalking counter punching style. Canelo is all of those things. He has some James Toney, some Floyd Mayweather and his some of his own game mixed into a straight killer.
Ryan Garcia is a counter punching fast striking ko artist. He’s a mix of Oscar De La Hoya and Ray Robinson. Please don’t think I’m saying he’s better. But watch how Robinson whips his punches and his body stance. Garcia..
Next look at David Benavidez. You see how that kid rips his combinations off. You can tell he’s drilled handspeed, handspeed, hand speed. If Benavidez gets better foot work he’s going to be a HOF.
Vergil Ortiz. This kid is an athletic, fast punching attacker. He has speed. He can attack in fast burst instead of slow burst. It won’t be easy to outbox Ortiz.
And in contrast you have black fighters who use a walk down style. They aren’t called pressure fighters but they walk you down. I know the reason for this. It’s tough for black fighters to deal with more athletic black fighters than them. So if they have a big punch and a good chin some have perfected a walk down style. It’s not called pressure fighting but it really it is. At the least it’s stalking. Errol Spence does it. The Charlo Bros do it. Terence Crawford can do it when he’s in that mode. Jarrett Hurd does it. It’s like a stalking, walk down athletic pressure that they put on fighters.
GGG is billed as a serial killer and he can be but he’s more of a heavy handed technician who comes forward behind a jab. GGG has boxing in his game.
Sergey Kovalev was called the Krusher but he’s more of a boxer. He can just punch hard so his natural style gets overlooked.
Bivol is all boxer. The Nail is a well rounded boxer. These guys have killer monikers but they’re boxers. Perception isn’t always reality.
Loma is actually the best active pressure fighter along with Roman Gonzalez. But because Loma is so athletic, his pressure isn’t realized. He’s probing, he’s boxing, he’s doing tricky things but Loma is an athletic pressure fighter with a huge bag of tricks.
Sometimes we read the labels before we see what's inside. As time goes on hybrid styles evolve because fighters blend what they see and implement it. It’s the way all sports are. Good pick up.
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